Hidden hunger is a growing issue in developed economies. According to UK food policy charity Sustain, an estimated 8.4 million people in the UK struggle to get enough to eat, a situation that will likely worsen due to the effects of the current global pandemic. We are convinced that Open Data is the solution to this growing concern, not just in the UK but elsewhere. Though we will initially be focusing on activity and research in the UK, we will also be looking at lessons that can be learned from this important work for other countries and other parts of the food supply chain.

With growing hunger, malnutrition, and climate uncertainty across the globe, research is essential for solving some of the world’s most urgent food crises.

According to a 2017 UNICEF study into the effects of childhood food security, being food secure means being sure of your ability to secure enough food of sufficient quality and quantity, to allow you to stay healthy and participate in society. Authors acknowledged varying degrees of food insecurity: from worry about food scarcity, quality and variety; to going without food and experiencing hunger.

A large focus of the GODAN mandate is working towards ZeroHunger on a global scale. Though the food security challenges that countries and regions face are many and varied, it remains a universal truth that the same data collection and analysis methods would have the effect of alleviating both short and long term effects of food poverty wherever they are applied. In supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goal 2, to end world hunger, GODAN seeks research institutions that can help target activities with lasting and significant results.

We are seeking to develop greater engagement with a broad range of key stakeholders and research institutions, both in the UK and globally, as a means to further the open data for nutrition agenda. The UK is an interesting point of departure due to the prevalence of data and research, and relatively few data gaps. Through collaboration within the Working Group and GODAN partner network, we aim to develop globally relevant policy guidance and best practice guidelines.

As ever, we encourage the open sharing of data and knowledge, based on the FAIR data principles (findability, accessibility, interoperability, and reusability), in full acknowledgement of the positive impact this has on the expedition of research, and subsequent efficiency of decision making and resource allocation.

We aim to provide a knowledge exchange platform to bring together experts and organisations to solve this universal issue. We welcome any inputs either through the working group or directly with GODAN. Please contact to add to the below list of resources (research projects, publications etc.).

The main objectives of this Working Group include:

  • Promoting open data knowledge, and increasing awareness to help support food poverty alleviation initiatives, innovations and the development of good practice;

  • Advocating for collaborative efforts in open data-driven initiatives to reduce food insecurity, through knowledge sharing among other activities;

  • Promoting sharing of good practices and lessons learned, to enable the use of open data in food poverty alleviation initiatives.


    Pereira, Audrey; Handa, Sudhanshu; Holmqvist, Goran (2017),Prevalence and Correlates of Food Insecurity among Children across the Globe, Innocenti Working Papers no. 2017-09, UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti, Florence


    GODAN began a series of UK Food Poverty Webinars in January 2021, to highlight the challenges and uses of open data in the alleviation of food poverty and malnutrition in the United Kingdom. The UK is particularly interesting as there are relatively few data and knowledge gaps, allowing for more comprehensive tools, strategies and initiatives to be developed. For further information, or to view previous Webinars click here.


    Below is a repository of tools, research papers, publications and data resources that advise on or provide examples of open data in nutrition - particularly around the issue of alleviating food poverty.

    Please contact to add to this evolving list of resources.


    mylocalmap - Tool developed by researchers at Southampton University, UK. For mapping, data downloads, risk measure updates (England):


    Working with local communities, local authorities and other national organisations, ActEarly uses data and research to explore how early life changes improve health and opportunities for children living in contrasting areas with high levels of child poverty:

    The Born in Bradford programme (includes Born in Bradford, Better Start Bradford Innovation Hub, BiB4All, and the Inequalities Research Unit), focuses on food insecurity, obesity prevention and improving family nutrition. All research programmes are interdisciplinary

    Covid Realities: A collaborative research project (between the Child Poverty Action Trust, the University of York and the University of Birmingham) into low income families and Covid-19, including food insecurity, funded by the Nuffield Foundation.

    ENUF is a hub for research and evidence on household food insecurity in the UK:

    IknowFood explores the relationship between income inequality, food insecurity and characteristics of unsustainable food economies within developed countries. Examine pathways to consumer resilience, particularly in relation to food insecurity, at a local and national level:

    Poverty and social inclusion (PSE), a major Economic and Social Research Council-funded project project, is the largest study into poverty in the UK. Based on extensive research carried out in 2012, the project explores poverty by directly examining people‘s living standards. In particular, how many, and who, lack items and activities seen by the public as necessary for living in the UK today:

    The project recently looked at the impact of Covid19 on food access:

    The Wellcome Research Trust project explores ethnic and religious influences and variations in food insecurity and the use of food aid in the UK. The project features a mixed methods, inter-disciplinary, multi-level research programme approach:

    The York Food Justice Alliance. A city wide, community-driven collaboration around food insecurity, with multiple stakeholders (community food aid and NGOs, local businesses, public sector)



    Beck, D., Gwilym, H. (2020), The moral maze of food bank use, Journal of Poverty and Social Justice, Volume 28, Number 3, pp. 383-399(17):

    Bird, P. K., Pickett, K., Graham, H. M., Faresjo, T., Jaddoe, V., Ludvigsson, J., Raat, H., Seguin, L., Wijtzes, A. & McGrath, J. (28 Nov 2019), Income inequality and social gradients in children’s height: a comparison of cohort studies from five high-income countries, Article in BMJ Paediatrics Open.

    Garnett, P., Doherty, B. & Heron, T. (4 Jun 2020), Vulnerability of the United Kingdom’s food supply chains exposed by COVID-19, Comment/debate in Nature Food.

    O'Connell, R., Owen, C., Padley, M., Simon, A., & Brannen, J. (2019), Which Types of Family are at Risk of Food Poverty in the UK? A Relative Deprivation Approach, Social Policy and Society, 18(1), 1-18. doi:10.1017/S1474746418000015

    O’Connell, R., Knight, A. and Brannen, J. (2019), Living Hand to Mouth: Children and food in low- income families. London: Child Poverty Action Group,

    Power, M. S., Wilkinson, R. & Pickett, K. (2016), Inequality, economic democracy and sustainability, World Social Science Report 2016: Challenging Inequalities: Pathways to a Just World. ISSC, IDS & UNESCO (eds.). UNESCO.

    Power, M. S., Small, N., Doherty, B. & Pickett, K. (2018), The incompatibility of system and lifeworld understandings of food insecurity and the provision of food aid in an English city, Article in VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations.

    Power, M. S. (2019), Seeking justice: how to understand and end food poverty in York, York: York Food Justice Alliance Commissioned report.

    Power, M., Doherty, B., Pybus, K. & Pickett, K. (2020), How COVID-19 has exposed inequalities in the UK food system: The case of UK food and poverty, Article in Emerald Open Research.

    Smith, D (2020), Food Access: A new king of postcode lottery (Commentary)


    Paper outlining the benefits and research done on social eating initiatives:

    Relevant Submissions to the UK House of Lords Special Committee on Food Poverty, Health and the Environment


    This group is open for registrations. We welcome offers

    of collaboration from both individuals and organisations.

    Please contact Head of Communications and Partnerships, Kathryn Bailey

    ( or Chief Scientist, Suchith Anand ( to apply to join.


  • UK Food Poverty Webinar Series

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